Romford shopkeepers warn new Tesco will kill business

Romford shopkeepers have warned that a new Tesco in South Street will sound the death knell for local businesses.

More than a dozen shopkeepers gathered outside the site on Tuesday to protest against the new supermarket, after construction work started last week.

The small-businesses owners, who are already struggling in the tough economic climate, fear a new Tesco will kill their trade.

They say they’ll be unable to compete with the supermarket chain’s cut-price promotions. Shop keepers also fear Tesco will soon be successful in its application for an alcohol license. David Poole, 60, co-owner of Bargains Galore in Mawney Road, said: “When they opened on Mawney Road they were giving away free newspapers and selling 500ml bottles of coke for 25p. How can we compete with that?

“It’s hard enough surviving already – our rents and rates are very high, around �1,000 a week.”

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David, who has owned the store with Lynda Harmer, 62, for the past six years, added: “There’s a lot of people here being made redundant. In North Street on its own there are about 12 empty shops and the Market is half empty now. I can’t make sense why Tesco want to open one in South Street when they’ve already got one at the other end.

“We’re urging people to please buy local.”

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Sunny Singh, owner of Key Shop in South Street, added: “The council has said no new alcohol licenses will be issued in the South Street area. But we’re worried they’ll give priority to Tesco.”

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